Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama
September 23–December 2, 2017
101 Spring Street
New York, NY 

Judd Foundation is pleased to present an exhibition of four paintings by Yayoi Kusama on the ground floor of 101 Spring Street in New York. The installation will open to the public on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Curated by Flavin Judd, the exhibition at 101 Spring Street includes recent and new works from the artist’s ongoing Infinity Net series.

Donald Judd was a friend of Kusama’s and an advocate of her early Infinity Net series, writing as an art critic for ARTnews, “Yayoi Kusama is an original painter. The five white, very large paintings [presented at the artist-run Brata Gallery in 1959] are strong, advanced in concept and realized.” The artists lived in the same building on 19th Street in New York in the early 1960s, where Kusama constructed her first sculptural installations at the same time that Judd constructed his. Judd later wrote a letter of support on behalf of Kusama for the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. In the letter he discusses the exhibition of Infinity Net paintings:

“In October of 1959 Yayoi Kusama exhibited five large paintings which were recognized as exceptional. Sidney Tillim, writing in Arts, predicted that the show would prove the sensation of the season. It did prove to be so and has remained one of the few important shows of the last two years. Tillim’s review and the one in ARTnews by the present writer stand as two of the most laudatory and extensive reviews given to a first one-man show. In quality the idea is grave, dignified, cool, and tough and in method advanced and remarkable. The space is shallow, close to the surface, and, in the case of the five white paintings of the first show, achieved by innumerable small arcs superimposed on a black ground which is muted with a final wash of white.”

The two artists maintained continued correspondence over the next two decades with Judd to visit Kusama while in Japan for an exhibition at Galerie Watari in February of 1978. Judd installed an early ceramic work by Kusama, a gift from the artist, in his library at La Mansana de Chinati/The Block in Marfa, Texas. An exhibition of Kusama’s work at 101 Spring Street was discussed in letters between the artists’ studios in the 1980s, though not realized during Judd’s lifetime.

Yayoi Kusama is made possible with support from David Zwirner, New York and Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai.

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About Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop art and minimalism. Her extraordinary and highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes.

Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Kusama briefly studied painting in Kyoto before moving to New York City in the late 1950s. Since her first solo show in her native Japan in 1952, the artist’s work has been featured widely in both solo and group presentations. In the mid-1960s, she established herself in New York as an important avant-garde artist by staging groundbreaking and influential happenings, events, and exhibitions. Her work gained widespread recognition in the late 1980s after a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England, both taking place in 1989. She represented Japan in 1993 at the 45th Venice Biennale to much critical acclaim.

Recently on view at the Seattle Art Museum was Infinity Mirrors, a major survey of Kusama’s work. The show was first on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and will tour through 2019 to The Broad, Los Angeles; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; and High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia.

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Yayoi Kusama

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Yayoi Kusama is made possible with support from David Zwirner, New York and Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai.